Dragonets are one of the most beautiful fish we get. But most of the ones you see are rather drab and boring. But drab and boring is rather good if that means you blend in to the drab and boring sand sites that we get here. Camouflage is king in Lembeh.
But when Dragonets are juveniles they look completely different to their adult selves. The most ‘common’ juvenile we see is the Black and Orange Dragonet, which I featured on a blog a while ago (misnaming it a Fingered Dragonet, I think, but it’s so hard to distinguish them).
This week I found another much rarer juvenile, a Moyer’s Dragonet. The juvenile dragonets always seem to be extremely brightly coloured, but are easily overlooked because of their size. This one is about 1.5cm (half an inch) long. We think they have these amazing colours to warn predators away. Generally if you are small and colourful you are poisonous and hopefully hungry critters stay away. As you get larger it seems that larger predators are more immune to poison, so camouflage becomes more important.
So these Moyer’s Dragonets are well worth taking pictures of if you see one, as they really are beautiful, so keep a good eye out, you never know what’s right beneath you.